Search Google Appliance

SYSC 610: Systems Approach to Research in Applied Psychology

SySc 610 Integrative Systems Course with Psychology:
Spring 2006


Ellen Skinner

Phone: 725-3966


George Lendaris

Phone: 725-4988



Office Hours: TBA TBA
Course Web Site:


Readings are available at Clean Copy, 1704 SW Broadway. Phone: 221-1876.


Students are guided through a process of exploring how key systems-approach concepts shape research in applied psychology. Groups of students, using a topic of interest to them, will construct two alternative study designs employing the relevant systems-approach principles. Through class lecture and student-led interactive class presentations, faculty and students will explore the use of systems concepts in psychological theory and research and will assist students in critiquing and refining their own designs. Faculty will draw examples of research from the areas of applied psychology. Each student group will submit and present their study design projects during the term.

(Note that this is the 3rd term of a student's SySc core requirement; in other words, the student must have taken either 511 and 512, or 513 and 514 PRIOR to taking this course.)


Several sources of information will be used to formulate your final grade:


Participation in class 20%


Cog maps and organizing class discussion for assigned class articles 15%


Study design project  


Problem Statement: Traditional design and short paper 5%


Design Idea 1:Presentation and short paper 10%


Design Idea 2:Presentation and short paper 15%


Final project  


In-class presentation 10%


Final paper 15%


Essay on "Systems Science in my Area and Career" 5%


Interview with faculty or graduate student 5%

Study Design Project

The course is organized around student projects, in which groups of students combine systems-approach principles with psychological theory and research to construct two designs for empirical studies. The project includes out-of-class group work and in-class inter-active work with faculty and other student groups. The project is the basis for in-class presentations, short papers, and the final paper.

Class Activities

Class sessions for which readings are assigned (with the exception of the first three classes on Dynamic Systems) will be organized as follows. Student teams of two will prepare cog maps, including lists of terms and definitions for the target article. Faculty will present short (15-30 min.) lectures on background, key themes, and critique of the paper. Students will then organize and facilitate class discussion. Faculty may be asked to provide a five-minute wrap-up summarizing the most important points covered in class. The first three classes on Dynamic Systems will be lecture-oriented.

Feedback to and from Students

On going feedback between faculty and students is essential to this course. To allow students to utilize feedback from faculty, students may revise and resubmit all class assignments. Individual meetings with students will be scheduled near the end of the quarter to allow discussion of each students' progress and areas of work.

To elicit information from students about their reactions to in-class activities, we will ask questions of students after every class. We will be using 5 X 7 cards for this purpose.During the fifth week of class, students hand in feedback to instructors about the progress of class and areas which need improvement.